The United States surprised the world as the US-led international coalition’s warplanes targeted an Iranian force in the Syrian south on the Damascus-Baghdad international road. The force, contained Iraqi Shiite militia, was heading for the border crossing with Iraq (al-Tanf) in an effort to gain control of the Syrian-Iraqi border on the south side adjacent to Jordan.
The raid was preceded by warnings in the Western press of Iran's unprecedented access to a wide ground corridor connecting it with the Mediterranean, despite Israel refuses Iran to have a naval base there. Netanyahu said he had repeatedly asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to observe Israeli red lines said that it is to prevent Iran from establishing a military base on the Mediterranean so as not to threaten its military and commercial activities there, and to prevent Hezbollah and Iraqi militias from approaching the occupied Golan Heights.
Does Israel and the West reject the Shiite crescent?
Jordanian King Abdullah II was the first who calls the term of "Shiite Crescent" in an interview with the Washington Post in 2004, expressing his fear of the arrival of an Iraqi government loyal to Iran to power in Baghdad cooperating with Iran and the Syrian regime to establish a crescent under the influence of the Shiite extends to Lebanon.
The term of “Shiite Crescent” is meant for the wide road passage that extends from the southern border of Iran through northern Iraq (and this may explain the importance of Mosul for Iran) and continues through Iraq to the Syrian border from Deir al-Zour north to the al-Tanf crossing in the south through the Syrian desert, to the eastern Homs countryside and Palmyra, then south to reach the Syrian coast and Lebanon.
What has happened since then is the deepening of US and Western cooperation with that sectarian government in Baghdad, each of Iran and the Iranian-backed Shiite militias receive sustained support that reached its peak in 2014 with direct support from a US-led broad international coalition of 62 states under the pretext of fighting IS group.
This support led to the spread of Iran's influence over almost all of Iraq, at the expense of civilians, in a war that appeared to be aimed at eradicating, displacing and eradicating Iraqi Sunnis in a clear demographic change in favor of Iran and extending it to Damascus as the "capital of the Umayyads" amid a complete United Nations and Western countries’ silence, which condemn the use of chemical weapons and barrel bombs, but they ignore the force displacement.
Contradictory views divide many observers , some see that such pretended enmity is just a propaganda,and others see that it is an actual enmity between Iran vs US and Western states who plan to exhaust all Iran and the Arab countries by allowing them to expand within the borders drawn by Washington and Western capitals in an understanding with Tel Aviv, where it appears - according to this opinion - that the approaching to al-Tanf crossing was beyond the limits allowed to Tehran.
The raid came before Trump's visit to Riyadh
Saudi Arabia has spoken of a change in regional data in conjunction with US President Donald Trump's visit to Riyadh and predicted a more assertive American policy towards Iran and its interventions in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
The US secretary of state made counter-statements to Iran at a news conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir, warning them of the consequences of continuing their policies, a day after the US raid. US officials said the raid was a strong message to Iran.
The raid was also preceded by statements by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry confirming Jordan's rejection of the presence of "sectarian" or "terrorist" militias on its borders, as reports of British, US and Jordanian military buildup on the Syrian border escalated amid talk of a possible safe area there.
The importance of the crossing
The crossing is located on an international road between Damascus and Baghdad. The Iranian militias managed to control it inside Iraq from the capital Baghdad through Ramadi to the Syrian border.
In conjunction with the tightening of the Iranian grip on Damascus and its surroundings, Iranian militias are trying to link the Syrian and Iraqi capitals via the international road to be under their full control.
This will be possible if Iran goes too far to benefit from the outcome of its military interventions in both countries and complete its project, which it has been working on since the end of the last century.
Another important race towards Deir al-Zour
Free Syrian Army forces backed by the international coalition began last month to move towards Deir al-Zour from the Syrian south, while Assad's forces and supporting militias also moved towards Deir al-Zour from the Badia region with Russian air cover.
Western reports speak of the intention of the IS organization to transfer its capital to Deir al-Zour if it lost Raqqa comletely and confirm that it moved many of its militants and headquarters with their families from Raqqa to Deir al-Zour late last month, according to American sources.
In addition to the oil fields in Deir al-Zour, it is located on the Syrian-Iraqi border between Iran's areas of influence in Syria and Iraq, and the Iran-backed Iraqi government is talking about a border battle to be launched soon.
In recent months, the Iranian militia and Assad's forces have managed to control the area known as the "Zaza" triangle, east of the capital, on the Damascus-Baghdad road, and then they moved to al-Muqamar area east of the triangle and stated explicitly that the seizing of the border crossing is a priority , prompting the Free Syrian Army factions there to fortify the area and push for greater military reinforcements to repel any new attempt at progress.
Russian sources confirmed that the military operations there aim to secure the fast land line between Damascus and Baghdad much more, and extend the areas of control of these militias towards Deir al-Zour to lift the siege on them, and linking them to areas controlled by Iran and the Assad regime.
Opinions differ between those who see clear US complicity with Tehran in the implementation of the project, and those who see US looting and depletion via leaving Iran to stretch to a larger size than normal, so the raid looks like a red line drawn to Iran so as not to approach that region..